The international horticultural exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 opened to the public yesterday on the site of MVRDV's arboretum masterplan in Almere. The concept features an alphabetical library of trees and plants arranged into lots on a rigorous grid across the 60-hectare site. The masterplan was conceived as a framework for the Expo, and at the same time, as a blueprint for a sustainable city district, given that the park will be transformed into a new residential area after the event. Held every ten years and running for six months, the Expo showcases the latest innovations in the field, from nature-inclusive agriculture to a sustainable pilot home made from 93 per cent recycled plastic.
The arboretum concept proposes a grid of small trees on which plant and tree species are listed alphabetically according to their Latin name. The project, developed with landscape architects Niek Roozen and Christiaan Pfeiffer, features 40,000 shrubs, 200,000 perennials, and 1 million bulbs. The masterplan is developed around the idea of a "green dip", that is the "immersion of buildings in the maximum possible amount of greenery".
This arboretum gives an opportunity to see all the plants of the Dutch climate zone, at the same time showing what they contribute to the green city. That means adding oxygen, capturing carbon dioxide, cooling, climate adaptation, and biodiversity. The arboretum also shows what the plants need in terms of soil, water, and maintenance. I hope that a good search and read function will be added to our living tree and plant library so that all this information becomes visible. When the new district is built, a symbiosis can arise between city and landscape, and we can test the effect of plants on buildings. The arboretum is, therefore also an instrument for increasing knowledge. It is good that in future, the arboretum will be managed, maintained and further developed by an independent foundation, so that the Expo will have a legacy. - MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas
The site is bordered by a boulevard crossed by wide bridges, two of them made from sustainable building materials such as cement-free concrete derived from Almere's waste. At the centre of Floriade park stands Flores Tower, whose colourful façade designed by MVRDV in collaboration with Arttenders and the Flemish artist Alex Verhaest features a composition of all the tree, plant and flower species at the Expo. The Flores Tower is also the first permanent building in the new district.